SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – High school students at John J. Duggan Academy are on the verge of a transformative educational journey as American International College (AIC) and the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (SEZP) join forces to introduce an innovative Early College experience.

This pioneering partnership is set to unlock new avenues of academic advancement for students while still in high school.

In an unprecedented three-year agreement, AIC will provide credit-bearing college classes that will set Duggan Academy students on a trajectory of success. A major highlight of this collaboration is the commitment to postgraduate matriculation and course requirements. Eligible Duggan students who successfully earn a minimum of twelve college credits and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 by the end of the twelfth grade will be granted guaranteed admission to AIC. Furthermore, those who complete the associate degree program will secure guaranteed admission and receive a $4,000 scholarship to attend AIC.

Beyond the course offerings, AIC will extend advising and academic support services, instructional materials, and an exclusive overnight summer program on the AIC campus dedicated to solely to Duggan’s Early College students. Recognizing the importance of a holistic educational experience, the College is dedicated to organizing enriching student and family activities, orientation experiences, and co-curricular events to facilitate a seamless transition, credit accrual, and unwavering student support.

Michael Dodge, AIC’s Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, shared, “This agreement between AIC and SEZP demonstrates a joint commitment to enhancing educational opportunities and support for Duggan Academy students. With these measures in place, this partnership will contribute to the students’ academic and personal growth, opening doors to new opportunities and paving the way for their success.”

The Principal of Duggan Academy, Michael Calvanese, expressed boundless excitement, stating, “We are thrilled to embark on this transformative journey with AIC as we evolve our high school into an early college model at Duggan. Our students’ enthusiasm and readiness for this unique opportunity are matched only by our deep appreciation for AIC’s exceptional leadership in driving this initiative forward for the benefit of Duggan and Springfield’s future generations.”

To commemorate the commencement of this groundbreaking collaboration, AIC warmly welcomed Duggan Academy students and teachers to its campus on Tuesday, July 18. The day featured a series of engaging activities, including health sciences simulations for students interested in health-related careers and a captivating demonstration by K-9 officers presented by the Springfield Police Department, tailored for students considering a career path in criminal justice. The event culminated in an extensive tour of the AIC campus, allowing these young aspiring college students to familiarize themselves with their future educational institution.

Springfield Officer Tom Horne and Canine Officer Alcatraz demonstrate obedience training

The signing of this transformative agreement between AIC and SEZP stands as a testament to the College’s unwavering commitment to community engagement and academic revitalization outlined in its five-year strategic plan, AIC Reimagined. The partnership resonates with a shared vision of empowering Duggan students by equipping them with the essential tools and support they need to carve a bright future for themselves. With the launch of this unique Early College program, the doors of opportunity swing wide open, promising a transformative journey of learning and growth for the students of John J. Duggan Academy.

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